The Short Term Future of Sven Baertschi

Kent Wilson
January 25 2013 12:10PM

 


 

Word from practice today is that Sven Baertschi is likely to play on the 4th on Satruday, if he makes the active roster at all. The insertion of Jiri Hudler and Roman Cervenka into the mix has meant a logjam of sorts in the top-nine and right now the rookie seems the most natural choice to move down.

This move won't make most Flames fans happy no doubt, but I can see where the coaching staff is coming from. Baertschi and Backlund had a really nice debut period in the first game against the Sharks, but there have been a lot of bumps along the road for the kid since that point. He certainly isn't timid about trying to make highlight reel moves, but his overall 200-foot game remains very raw. Keep in mind Sven turned 20 years old in September and doesn't even have 30 por games under his belt. He also spent his entire last season in junior having his way with WHL on one of the best club's in the CHL, so it's going to take some time to develop the requisite discipline in Baertschi for him to be a more complete player at the NHL level.

Some NHL teams would be willing to let Sven play through his issues, but not the Flames for a couple of reasons:

1.) They have a fully packed roster when everybody is healthy. The current top-9 wingers are: Iginla, Glencross, Tanguay/Cervenka, Hudler, Stempniak and Cammalleri. Depending on how Cervenka assimilates to NA hockey, Baertschi isn't good enough to usurp any of those guys based purely on his abilities right now.

2.) The Flames are still trying to win now. With one point in the opening three games, the urgency to starting winning is already rising thanks to the shortened season.

On top of all that, the club doesn't boast an obviously ideal line for Baertschi currently. Because there is no obvious group of "heavy hitters" amongst the forwards who can soak up the tough minutes, it makes it harder for the coaching staff to appropriately shelter Sven given the set up of the roster.

For example:

Vladimir Tarasenko is currently leading NHL rookies in scoring. In part because he's a high level talent, but it also helps that through 4 games he has an 85.2% zone start ratio - that is, he has started 25 shifts in the offensive zone and just 4(!!) in the d-zone. The Blues have quality depth all over the roster and the Selke caliber play of David Backes to take on the tough stuff, so they can afford to give the kid the cherry circumstances.

Finally, Baertschi hasn't quite made a case for himself so far. We're only three games in and there's a few vets that I think have struggled as well (*cough*Cammalleri*cough*) but established guys always get the benefit of the doubt. right now, the kid has the worst possession rate outside of Steve Begin and Blake Comeau amongst Flames forwards. That's not a grave indictment of any player thanks to the small sample size, and certianly not of a 20-year old rookie, but because the roster is stuffed to bursting with veterans and the team's short term goals are to make the playoffs, Baertschi more or less has to outplay one of the incumbents to stay in the top-9.

As a result, I suspect be will be headed down to the farm within the week, assuming everyone stays healthy and Cervenka is as good as everyone thinks/hopes. Playing 8 minutes a night on the 4th line with Comeau/Jackman/Jones/Begin won't do much for Sven's development and since he doesn't have to pass through waivers to be demoted, it's a simple decision to move him back to first line minutes in Abbotsford. 

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Former Nations Overlord. Current FN contributor and curmudgeon For questions, complaints, criticisms, etc contact Kent @ kent.wilson@gmail. Follow him on Twitter here.
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#101 Willi P
January 25 2013, 05:47PM
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Just wanted to be post #101

3rd Page

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#103 Willi P
January 25 2013, 05:50PM
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On a more serious note, getting pretty heated here.

I think we all want the same thing. Play offs and more. Can't see it happening soon without giving the "new wave" time to develop and gel. Same old, same old.

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#104 Clay
January 25 2013, 05:56PM
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Willi P wrote:

On a more serious note, getting pretty heated here.

I think we all want the same thing. Play offs and more. Can't see it happening soon without giving the "new wave" time to develop and gel. Same old, same old.

I will settle for progress

I have little tolerance for stagnation

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#105 Willi P
January 25 2013, 05:59PM
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Clay wrote:

I will settle for progress

I have little tolerance for stagnation

Agreed. Tweak here, tweak there since 2004. The Cup run was almost a curse.

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#106 the-wolf
January 25 2013, 06:02PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

Here's the Iginla piece you were wondering about:

http://flamesnation.ca/2012/8/20/what-to-do-with-jarome-iginla

Thank you Sir!

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#108 the-wolf
January 25 2013, 06:06PM
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@Kent

Yes, I did read that article at the time, but interesting to give it a re-read. Really makes me wonder about the team's so-called "intellectual honesty."

That run truly rejuvenated and simultaneously cursed the club.

Thanks again for digging it up.

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#109 ChinookArch
January 25 2013, 06:21PM
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the-wolf wrote:

@Kent

Yes, I did read that article at the time, but interesting to give it a re-read. Really makes me wonder about the team's so-called "intellectual honesty."

That run truly rejuvenated and simultaneously cursed the club.

Thanks again for digging it up.

@ Kent

I just re-read the Article as well. The 3 games we have seen so far are a small sample, but what's intriguing is that Iginla's playing quite well, and the Flames play has been encouraging (results not withstanding). The team could easily be 2 -1 this season, instead of 0-2-1 and I point to outchancing both San Jose, as well as getting decent results in the dot so far.

I guess what I'm saying is that I'm very curious about how Iginla's WOWY stats look at the end of theseason, if in fact the team can continue to show these kinds of results.

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#110 Willi P
January 25 2013, 06:27PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

I'll give Sutter his due: he made major changes to the club in the wake fo the cup run. He understood it wasn't good enough to seriously contend whatever happened in 2004. His acquisitions of Daymond Langkow and Kristian Huselius over that span were great and then he went out a got guy a like Tanguay too.

The club on the ice more or less peaked in 2008-09. It's been since then that the organization has furiously tried to run in place and convince itself it is still a contender.

Also agreed, D Sutter didn't sit still and deserves credit for trying to improve. Guys like Langkow and Tangs were great additions. When I comment on tweaking, the org's major fail is the lack of hitting a home run with regards to a 1C. Darryl was either unwilling or unable to get this done and there have been some available. They chose guys like Olli (twice), the second time, they could have got Spezza (for a price!!! for sure)

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#113 Willi P
January 25 2013, 07:00PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

Yeah there was limited success in pushing the team over the top. It's a tough thing to do. I think he came close with Langkow - that dude was a seriously underrated center in this league.

The team hasn't changed its tune since 2008-09, unfortunately, and instead of looking for players who can take over for guys like Jarome and Kipper they've continued to pursue complementary pieces as if the club is just one guy away from being a contender again. That's just not the case and the problem is exacerbated by the fact the club couldn't draft talent for the last decade and began to trade their future for the present on top of that.

Indeed, Langkow was way underrated and thrown to the wolves later in his tenure. One of my favorite players ever; quiet man that consistently performed.

If Feaster could pull off a deal to trade 3-4 wingers for a good centre +, they would have a chance. Too bad the Flames couldn’t be on the receiving end of a deal like the Gilmour trade from way back.

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#114 Tach
January 25 2013, 07:08PM
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While I agree this scenario us likely and I agree that AHL minutes is better tan the press box or playing with plugs, could the Flames not keep Baertschi, help the team win and aid his development. For example, playing Baertschi in offensive zone and soft competition situations ( with other good players) plus 2nd PP minutes for 10 minutes a game would fit this bill.

I don't see the Flames being creative enough to do this, but there has to be more options than what Kent points out.

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#115 Baalzamon
January 25 2013, 07:15PM
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What if the Flames packaged Stempy and... erm I don't know, Cammalleri to the Blues in exchange for Alex Steen? I know I keep pushing for Steen, but man, is that guy underrated. Small chance it happens, but it would ease that weird logjam on the wings.

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#116 jeremywilhelm
January 25 2013, 07:22PM
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@Baalzamon

I don't understand your love of Steen at all.

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#117 schevvy
January 25 2013, 07:32PM
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jeremywilhelm wrote:

I don't understand your love of Steen at all.

Good hard minutes center I think. He seems to have improved a lot from his time in Toronto. (I'm sure Baalmazon can explain it further)

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#118 jeremywilhelm
January 25 2013, 07:51PM
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@schevvy

He plays the wing. And he's a complimentary player at best. We have many of these players. No thanks.

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#119 DangleSnipeCelly
January 25 2013, 07:52PM
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In other news, Gaudreau and Arnold both shut out and -2 as BC loses.... and Jankowski 0 points in a Providence loss with Gillies allowing 3 goals on 22 shots...

Seems like a grey day for Flames related news. Oh wait, Heat win on the road in Charlotte!!

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#120 Alt
January 25 2013, 08:54PM
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Baertchi will benifit with some time in the AHL.So would Camellari and Comeau.

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#121 Baalzamon
January 25 2013, 08:55PM
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@jeremywilhelm

It's true he hasn't played center since he left Toronto, but he can also play on both wings, and he's consistently among St. Louis's best forwards at even strength. Remember, this is a team that also has David Backes, David Perron, Patrik Berglund, Andy MacDonald, Jamie Langenbrunner, and T.J. Oshie.

Think Backlund with an effective game on the wing and a more consistent/proven scoring touch. Plus, he's a year younger than Stempniak.

It doesn't surprise me that you consider him a "complimentary player at best", even though that's completely untrue. I did say he was underrated, after all, and for a player to be underrated, popular opinion would have to be that he's worse than he actually is.

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#122 Baalzamon
January 25 2013, 09:15PM
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@Baalzamon

to be fair, I don't believe Steen has ever played hard minutes before--at least, not what would be considered hard minutes by Flames standards.

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#123 RexLibris
January 25 2013, 09:45PM
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Baertschi going to the Heat is the best thing for him.

IF the Flames send him to the AHL, and IF they communicate to him the reasons for this is not punishment, then this is perhaps one of the wisest decisions the Flames have made in my memory.

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#124 CLyde
January 25 2013, 11:50PM
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I think a Sven and Gaudeau and our 1st for some 30 year old center is probably our next move.

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#125 jeremywilhelm
January 26 2013, 12:41AM
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@Baalzamon

So he doesn't play tough minutes and he isnt a centre. What are we trading for him for then, what need does he possibly fill with his 3.6 mill contract??!

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#126 RexLibris
January 26 2013, 09:21AM
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CLyde wrote:

I think a Sven and Gaudeau and our 1st for some 30 year old center is probably our next move.

Nah, it'd be for Luongo and Andrew Alberts. ;-)

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#127 RexLibris
January 26 2013, 09:31AM
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the-wolf wrote:

@Kent

Yes, I did read that article at the time, but interesting to give it a re-read. Really makes me wonder about the team's so-called "intellectual honesty."

That run truly rejuvenated and simultaneously cursed the club.

Thanks again for digging it up.

I think this is the definition you might want to apply to the franchise right now: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cognitive_dissonance

Contrast the fortunes of the three Canadian teams to have gone to the Cup Final in the last decade. The Flames kept on with the core group, trying to make adjustments that weren't in keeping with the evolving nature of the game. The Senators built a team around one line, and once it fell apart all hell broke loose. The Oilers thought they could live forever in their delusion of being "just a player or two away" and even believed that one year of high draft picks (2007) was enough to rebuild the roster.

Two of those three teams subsequently hit the ditch hard, and have attempted to respond to that crisis.

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#128 Willi P
January 26 2013, 09:44AM
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jeremywilhelm wrote:

So he doesn't play tough minutes and he isnt a centre. What are we trading for him for then, what need does he possibly fill with his 3.6 mill contract??!

Sounds exactly like the kind of player this team would try and aquire.

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#129 Steve
January 26 2013, 10:18AM
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Willi P wrote:

Indeed, Langkow was way underrated and thrown to the wolves later in his tenure. One of my favorite players ever; quiet man that consistently performed.

If Feaster could pull off a deal to trade 3-4 wingers for a good centre +, they would have a chance. Too bad the Flames couldn’t be on the receiving end of a deal like the Gilmour trade from way back.

Daymond was one of my favourites ever. I remember saying to my father in law (Canucks fan) a few years back in an argument that Langkow might be one of the best players in the league. Then I backtracked as I thought it might have sounded like a bit of an exaggeration, but he, in rare fashion, agreed with me completely. He was the Flames player he respected most. Miss that guy.

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#130 Marcus
January 26 2013, 11:52AM
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Willi P wrote:

Also agreed, D Sutter didn't sit still and deserves credit for trying to improve. Guys like Langkow and Tangs were great additions. When I comment on tweaking, the org's major fail is the lack of hitting a home run with regards to a 1C. Darryl was either unwilling or unable to get this done and there have been some available. They chose guys like Olli (twice), the second time, they could have got Spezza (for a price!!! for sure)

Or Getzlaf instead over Dion for free. Flames brass has a chance to watch him play WHL at the dome several times and it was clear he was a #1 Center. By now he woulda had 4 very successful seasons playing with Iginla each year in the playoffs while knowing he could have swung at least 1 or 2 games to get us there.

Alas, our drafting is now fit as a fiddle and we can keep pace with the oilers,

Sven = Hall Gaudreau = Eberle Jankowski = Nugent Next year I pray we draft high and make more steals in late rounds.

Gonna be exciting 5yrs from now.

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#131 Bandit
January 26 2013, 12:18PM
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Marcus wrote:

Or Getzlaf instead over Dion for free. Flames brass has a chance to watch him play WHL at the dome several times and it was clear he was a #1 Center. By now he woulda had 4 very successful seasons playing with Iginla each year in the playoffs while knowing he could have swung at least 1 or 2 games to get us there.

Alas, our drafting is now fit as a fiddle and we can keep pace with the oilers,

Sven = Hall Gaudreau = Eberle Jankowski = Nugent Next year I pray we draft high and make more steals in late rounds.

Gonna be exciting 5yrs from now.

Horak must be Yakupov too.

Just need a Schultz to sign in the off season.

I don`t think there was anything wrong with drafting Dion, what really messed up the Flames was trading Dion (at the time had good value in comparison to now) for spare parts. It was a recipe for disaster. It was the move that really precipitated the mess.

Flames need to trade Kipper and Iginla, to lessen the pain they will feel as this team drift into this rebuild. If not this team will be missing 2-3 assets as the management finally comes to grips that they have to rebuild.

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#132 SeanCharles
January 26 2013, 04:19PM
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jeremywilhelm wrote:

I'm gonna go on a different path and say I don't think Baertschi has played that well at all.

Baertschi has drawn two penalties and has made nice passes to teammates in the offensive zone. He hit the post too. He's looked exciting with his one-on-one moves. I don't understand how you can say he hasn't played well at all.

The problem is he hasn't been getting quality offensive zone ice time.

So far I don't like Harley's decisions, I'm honestly wondering if Brent may have made better ones.

I too, like many, are excited about watching Sven, backland, and Brodie and even Horak- he had played well too.

This player management thus far has infuriated me, if it is what it seems to be. If its done to motivate the youngsters I'm fine with it.

But don't preach meritocracy and send Horak and Sven down while not all the 1- way contracts have played better than them.

This is bullsh!t......

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#133 Marcus
January 27 2013, 01:43AM
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Bandit wrote:

Horak must be Yakupov too.

Just need a Schultz to sign in the off season.

I don`t think there was anything wrong with drafting Dion, what really messed up the Flames was trading Dion (at the time had good value in comparison to now) for spare parts. It was a recipe for disaster. It was the move that really precipitated the mess.

Flames need to trade Kipper and Iginla, to lessen the pain they will feel as this team drift into this rebuild. If not this team will be missing 2-3 assets as the management finally comes to grips that they have to rebuild.

And Dubnyk exceeds Ramo riiight.

But yah. Dion didn't ruin that dressing room like Keenan didn't turn iggy into a floater. All hail Hartley giving Iggy his second second of PK time. #hashtag

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#134 thefullnelson
January 28 2013, 02:12PM
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What you say makes sense, but it is a real shame. Sven Baertschi is a genuinely exciting player on a roster that doesn't excite me so much (swear to God I'm not slagging, just I'd rather talk about whether the hot new rookie can save the team than whether the old crusty veterans can save the team... tomayto, tomahto, perhaps). I'm very glad they kept him in the lineup for the BOA on Saturday. Taking him out of that game would have really sent the wrong message to him IMO.

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